Jesu dulcis memoria

Jesu dulcis memoria is attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–
1153). There are around 42–53 verses depending on the manuscript.
The Church uses the poem for the Feast of the Holy Name of Je-
sus. She divides it into three parts, Jesu dulcis memoria, Jesu Rex
admirabilis and Jesu decus angelicum, for Vespers, Matins and Lauds
respectively.
J
.
Jesus
e-
.
su
.
sweet
dul
.
cis
.
me
.
mó-
.
ri-
.
a,
.

Dans
.
true
ve-
.
ra
.
heart
cor
.
dis
.
joy
gáu
.
di-
.
a
.



.
but
Sed
.
over
su
.
per
.
mel
.
et
.
all
óm
.
ni-
.
a,
.
.
.
His
E-
.
jus
.
sweet
dul
.
cis
.
presence
prae
.
sén
.
ti-
.
a.
.


Many are hesitant to try reading the traditional notation above.
Not many schools teach how to read it so it remains a stumbling
block. A straight translation into modern notation is a little tricky
as the whole concept of timing is quite different between the two,
but here’s my uneducated take on the task. This is how it sounds to
me.

gau

dul

dis

2
5
ra

cor

Sed

su

Dans

ve

cis

memo

a
2
6

Je

ri

a

di

cis

jus

mel

a

dul

prae

om

ni

et E

su
2
6
3

ti

per

sen

a
Translations
Fr. Edward Caswall (1814–1887) has translated many hymns. He is
associated with the Oxford Movement along with Cardinal Newman
and Mgr. Ronald Knox.
Hymn for Vespers
Vespers is sung as the day closes and everyone comes together to
prepare the evening meal and make a welcoming place for people to
find rest after a long day’s work.
IESU, dulcis memoria,
dans vera cordis gaudia,
JESU, the very thought of Thee,
with sweetness fills my breast,
sed super mel et omnia, but sweeter far Thy face to see,
eius dulcis praesentia. and in Thy presence rest.
Nil canitur suavius,
nil auditur iucundius,
Nor voice can sing, nor heart can
frame,
nil cogitatur dulcius, nor can the memory find
quam Iesus Dei Filius. a sweeter sound than Thy blest Name,
o Savior of mankind!.
Iesu, spes paenitentibus,
quam pius es petentibus!
O hope of every contrite heart
o joy of all the meek,
quam bonus te quaerentibus! to those who fall, how kind Thou art!
sed quid invenientibus? how good to those who seek!
Nec lingua valet dicere,
nec littera exprimere:
But what to those who find? Ah this
nor tongue nor pen can show:
expertus potest credere, the love of Jesus, what it is
quid sit Iesum diligere. none but His loved ones know.
Sis, Iesu, nostrum gaudium,
qui es futurus praemium:
Jesu, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize wilt be:
sit nostra in te gloria, Jesu, be Thou our glory now,
per cuncta semper saecula. And through eternity. Amen.
Amen.
Hymn for Matins
Matins is sometimes called Vigils. It is said in the middle of the night
or thereabouts. The name comes from the word for morning.
IESU, Rex admirabilis
et triumphator nobilis,
O JESUS, King most wonderful!
Thou Conqueror renowned!
dulcedo ineffabilis, Thou Sweetness most ineffable!
totus desiderabilis. in whom all joys are found!
Quando cor nostrum visitas,
tunc lucet ei veritas,
When once Thou visitest the heart,
then truth begins to shine;
mundi vilescit vanitas, then earthly vanities depart;
et intus fervet caritas. then kindles love divine.
Iesu, dulcedo cordium,
fons vivus, lumen mentium,
O Jesu! Light of all below!
Thou font of life and fire!
excedens omne gaudium surpassing all the joys we know,
et omne desiderium. and all we can desire.
Iesum omnes agnoscite,
amorem eius poscite;
May every heart confess Thy name,
and ever Thee adore;
Iesum ardenter quaerite, and seeking Thee, itself inflame
quaerendo inardescite. to seek Thee more and more.
Te nostra, Iesu, vox sonet,
nostri te mores exprimant;
Thee may our tongues for ever bless;
Thee may we love alone;
te corda nostra diligant and ever in out lives express
et nunc, et in perpetuum. the image of Thine own. Amen.
Amen.
Hymn for Lauds
Lauds is sung at daybreak, rising in the dark, greeting the first light
of dawn with prayer and praises.
IESU, decus angelicum,
in aure dulce canticum,
O JESUS, Thou the beauty art
of Angel worlds above!
in ore mel mirificum, Thy name is music to the heart,
in corde nectar caelicum. enchanting it with love!
Qui te gustant, esuriunt,
qui bibunt, adhuc sitiunt;
Celestial sweetness unalloyed!
who eat Thee hunger still,
desiderare nesciunt, who drink of Thee still feel a void
nisi Iesum, quem diligunt. which naught but Thou canst fill!
O Iesu mi dulcissime,
spes suspirantis animae!
O my sweet Jesus! hear the sighs
which unto Thee I send!
Te quaerunt piae lacrimae, to Thee my inmost spirit cries
Te clamor mentis intimae. my being’s hope and end!
Mane nobiscum, Domine,
et nos illustra lumine;
Stay with us, Lord, and with Thy
light
Pulsa mentis caligine, illume the soul’s abyss;
Mundum reple dulcedine. scatter the darkness of our night
and fill the world with bliss.
Iesu, flos Matris Virginis,
amor nostrae dulcedinis,
O Jesu! spotless Virgin flower!
our life and joy! to Thee
Tibi laus, honor nominis, be praise, beatitude and power,
regnum beatitudinis. Amen. through all eternity! Amen.
Thanks for those words go to Michael Martin and his Thesaurus
Precum Latinarum http://www.preces-latinae.org
Vernacular versions
Looking through hymnbooks its hard to find an authoritative tune
for the English version. Since there is no clear winner and there
are three sets of words, I’ll take this opportunity to present three
different arrangements.
The plainchant comes tantalisingly close to matching Fr. Caswall’s
english. With a few slurred notes here’s what we get.

sus,
tongue
hope
what
su,

of

2
5
But
Je

ve
sing
e
those
on
O

the
can
trite
Ah
be
to
our

thought

ry
nor
v'ry
who
can
of
Je
No

Thee
frame
heart
this
Thou,

ly

With
nor
o
nor
As
heart
con
find?
joy
2
6
my
'ry
the
can
wilt
2

fills
mem
all
pen
prize

ness
the
of
nor
our

breast,
find
meek,

sweet
can
joy
tongue
Thou

the
Je

show:
be:

But
a
to

far
sound
fall,
Je
Thou

Thy
than
how
sus,
how
none
And

er
er
who
of
be our
2
6
3

to
blest
Thou
it
ry

see
Name
art!
is
now,

face
Thy
kind
what
glo

And
O

sweet
sweet
those
love
su,
e
His
to
viour
Thy

ter
loved
those
of
pre

ni
ones
who
man
sence

through
but
good
Sa
in

4

ty.
know.
seek!
kind.
rest.

Each hymnbook I looked at gave different tunes for the same
words. Not one sounded familiar to me. Here is my favourite of the
old tunes out of copyright. It is an English tune called Mendip.

Thou
then
Thou
and
Thee

Je
once
Je
e
may
most
si
of
con
for

der
the
be
Thy
ver Thee

sus,
A

King
vi
Light
heart
tongues
D

won
test
all
fess
e
G

ful!
heart,
low!
name,
bless;

Thou
su!
v'ry
our
D

O
When
O
May
A

nowned!
shine;
fire!
dore;
lone;

G

most
va
all
Thee,
in

re
to
and
a
a

in
ni
the
it
out
3

D

Sweet
earth
pass
seek
D

Con
truth
font
e
may

Thou
then
sur
and
and

e

ness
ly
ing
ing
ver

que
be
of
ver
we
G

ror
gins
life
Thee
love
6

D

found!
vine.
sire.
more.
own.

Em

ble!
part;
know,
flame
press
A

ef
ties
joys
self
lives

fa
de
we
in
ex

in
then
and
to
the

i
A

joys
love
can
more
of

are
di
de
and
Thine
G

whom
kin
all
seek

all
dles
we
Thee
mage
There was another favourite tune called St. Botolph. It was in 3/4
time. I thought maybe I could make up my own tune, but after many
attempts came to realise I was attempting to reinvent the wheel. The
tune that I was fishing for turned out to be a Christmas carol from
a Maddy Prior album. The name is “This Endris Night” and it fits
the meter of Fr. Caswall’s translation beautifully. The lilting melody
goes well with the yearning of the text.
4
3

Je

art
loyed!
sighs
light
flower!

C

Je
les
my
with

ty
al
the
Thy
gin
O
Ce
O
Stay
O
sweet
Je
Lord,
spot
of
who
which
il
our
Am

An
eat
un
lume
life
G

the
ness
sus!
and
less
F

beau
un

sus,
tial
sweet
us,
su!
Thou

C

gel
Thee
to
the
and
hear
with
Vir

sic
still
most
ness
ti
a
er
I
a
to
Em

bove!
still,
send!
byss;
Thee
6

the
a
rit
our
and
F

to
feel
spi
of
tude

Thy
who
to
scat
be
G

worlds
hung
Thee
soul's

C

mu
Thee
in
dark
a joy!

F

name
drink
Thee
ter
praise,

is
of
my
the
be
C

love!
fill!
end!
bliss.
ty!

with
canst
and
with
ni

12

en
which
my
and
through
F

chant
naught
be
fill
C

heart,
void
cries
night
power,
G

it
Thou
hope
world
ter all

ing
but
ing's
the
e
Jesu Rex admirabilis is famous in its polyphonic setting by Gio-
vanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525?–1594)

Jesu! Rex admirabilis
G. P. da Palestrina SAB St. Bernard of Clairvaux
lus
pha
,
pha
lus
,
pha
lus
,
tra
tor
,
tra
tor
,
tra
tor
,
nos
tri
,
nos
tri
,
nos
tri
,
et
et
il
um
,
il
um
,
il
um
,
,
,
,
/
,
/
·

.
.
no
,
lu
no
,
lu
no
,

mi
bi
,
mi
bi
,
mi
bi
,

,

lu
bis
ad
,
bis
ad
,
no
Rex
,
no
ad
,
bis
.
Ma
Je
Ma
.
Ma
Je
Je
.
Rex
,
no
Rex
,
ne
su!
,
ne
su!
,
ne
su!
,
,
ne
lis
,
ne
lis
,
·

mi
bi
,
mi
bi
,
,
et
et
,
et
et
,
ne
lis
Do
ra
,
cum
mi
,
cum
mi
,
cum
mi
,
mi
bi
,

Do
ra
,
Do
ra
,
dum
tus
,
.
mun
to
,
mun
to
dum
tus
,

gi
bi
,
gi
bi
,
gi
bi
,
,
ne,
lis,
,
ne,
lis,
,
ne,
lis,
.
,
/
/
5
·
.
.
ple
si
,
ple
si
,
,
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de
,
re
de
,

dul
de
,
dul
de
,
mun
to
,

ce
.
pul
dul
.
men
do
.
,
sa
ce
.
sa
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.
sa
ne
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.
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lis,
.
ne
lis,
.
pul
dul
.
pul
dul
.
.
.
.
,
fa
,
li
fa
,
ca
ef
,
ca
ef
,

li
fa
,
li
,
men
do
.
men
do
.
ca
ef
,
tis
in
,
tis
in
,
tis
in
,
brandt.id.au File may be freely copied and distributed.
SAB 2

,
dul
de
,
dul
de
,
,
,
ce
ra
,
ce
ra
,
si
,
ple
si
,
re
de
,
re
de
,
,

ce
ra
,
ple
,
/
/
10
.
.
di
bi
,
di
bi
,

ne.
lis.
.
ne.
lis.
.
ne.
lis.
.
·
di
bi
,
,

ne,
lis,
,
ne,
lis,
.
ple
si
,
di
bi
,
.
ce
ra
,

dul
de
,
ra
,
dum
tus
,

mun
to
,
di
bi
,
re
de
,
ce
ra
,
ce dum
tus
,
dum
tus
,
mun
to
,
dul
de
.
,
dum
tus
,
ple
si
.
mun
to
.
ne,
lis,
,
re
de
,
di
bi


Stay with us, Lord, and with Thy light
illume the soul's abyss;
scatter the darkness of our night
and fill the world with bliss.
O Jesus, King most wonderful!
Thou Conqueror renowned!
Thou Sweetness most ineffable!
in whom all joys are found!

Translation into English by Fr. Edward Caswall (1814-1887)
brandt.id.au VB - 28th August 2009

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